Six Iowa farm families won the 2017 Way We Live Award at this year's Iowa State Fair. The state fair's website says families were chosen “based on their dedication to agriculture and their strong Iowa farm values.” Applicants submitted a short essay describing how the occupation of farming and living on a farm have shaped their lives.
The Jeff and Barb Hansen family was one of the six families recognized. The Hansens are Dallas County Farm Bureau members. They raise beef cattle and farrow-to-finish hogs, and they grow corn, soybeans, grass hay and alfalfa. In their community, Jeff and Barb started the "Granger Strivers" 4-H club in 2001. They acknowledged in their essay that everything they do revolves around the farm: their daughters' extra-curricular activities, family vacations and college choices.
Their daughter Sarah nominated them for the award.
"I just thought this would be an awesome opportunity to display about our family farm and let people know what diversity we have and what diversity they can have," Sarah said.
The whole family took part in writing the entry essay.
Jeff wanted to show that small family farms can still be successful, while his daughter Sarah wanted to show people that "it doesn't take someone special. It just takes someone with some love and hard work."
The Hansen family liked that the Iowa State Fair was recognizing farmers and was thankful for receiving the award.
"I like that the fair is honoring farmers in general and educating the public on what real farmers are like, what a real farm is. I think there's some misconceptions," Barb said.
The Way We Live Award, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and WHO NewsRadio 1040, was started in 2009 and has recognized 54 Iowa farm families.